Want to improve your daily happiness?

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

One of the most touted things in all of life is happiness. So much so, that one of the values of a country is the pursuit of happiness. Often times people think that a new car, more money, that dream job, or some other thought-to-be great thing, will bring them the happiness that they’ve been pursuing. In all honesty, these are trivial material things that are fleeting. This means that they cannot simply bring us long-term joy.

We’ve all been there, right? You get a car and it’s awesome. You feel extremely happy with it and it most likely out-performs the last vehicle you drove. Heck, maybe it out-performs every vehicle you’ve ever driven. But, it eventually gets old. You put a bunch of miles on it, it begins needing maintenance and begins breaking down.

The car doesn’t make you feel good anymore. It’s lost the new-car-smell and you’ve stopped cleaning it every weekend. The car becomes boring and so you spend the next couple of years wanting a new one.

Folks, this process happens when we mistake fleeting joy for lasting joy. Buying new things give us a pseudo-joyful feeling. We think that new thing contributes to our happiness. Everything about the car is different. It can do better things than the last car, and it benefits us in some way.

In another example; when a relationship begins, we want to know everything and anything about our significant other. They’re essentially new to us. Everything is exciting. If that relationship fails, we’re likely to blame it on the “fire” just burning out. I’d contend that the two people were clinging to that pseudo-joy without recognition. Marriages that thrive can separate the fleeting joy and replace it with the true joy that the marriage supplies. Where does true joy come from, though? How can we experience happiness in our daily lives?

I can tell you that it starts with a culture change in our heart. I write about attitude all the time, but it’s because I believe our attitude has such a significant influence on us. Our attitude can determine whether or not we give up or stay optimistic. It can determine whether or not we forgive someone or hold a grudge. And it can ultimately determine whether or not we experience daily contentment and happiness.

Keeping a positive vibe going requires some effort. There are times throughout our day that we’re irritable and sometimes provoked into a negative mood. We’ve all experienced a day when literally nothing is going right. Maybe you’re late for work, had car trouble, your boss isn’t fun and keeps piling on the work, the kids are acting up at school, insert stress here, and I could keep going. The point is that we’re going to come across days like these.

These can contribute to additional stressors in our lives. These stressors do not have to lead to unhappiness, however. The truth of the matter is that we can walk around happier if we’d just deploy some coping skills and recognize the world isn’t over because we’re stressed out. Everything keeps spinning and tomorrow will still be there with all the life that it possesses.

So, we can choose to work to relax ourselves. Whether that means we actually physically work-out, take a walk, read a book, or otherwise, we have the ability to feel better. The one thing that we can always change in every bad situation is our attitude. We have the privilege of deciding whether we’re going to be upset about the car trouble, or whether we’re going to realize that’s a trivial issue in the grand scheme of things.

I would encourage everyone to take 10 good seconds to process things during a stressful event or time period. If you’re having a bad day, go have a yogurt and sit in a quiet area and sort out your brain. It’s okay to be vulnerable. we’re not built to carry the load, all day every day.

Regardless of whether or not you feel like you should “tough it out”, if you want to stay optimistic, you need to take care of yourself during times of stress. Obviously we can’t always take a break when we’re stressed out, but there will be moments in our day that we can slow everything down and process it. We truly need to be in this state of stability in order to keep our attitude in the right place.

If you try to force yourself into a better mood while you’re irrationally emotional, you’ll probably just irritate yourself more and you’ll end up exploding on someone. The key is to funnel that stress and gain control of your emotions before you focus on your attitude.

Once you’re able to take a few breaths and really confront the stressor, you can move forward with a more optimistic day. The best part is that if you’re able to put this into practice daily, you’ll most likely experience happiness consistently. Once you make this practice part of your routine, you’ll possess the tools necessary to fully pursue, and acquire, that coveted happiness that we’re all searching for.

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